Friday Recipe Exchange: Lots of Kabobs

Kabobs

Happy Labor Day weekend. This will be a quick exchange before I run out the door. Oh, I’m not going anywhere for the weekend, we’re still working on potty training with Bixby. LOL. His latest update is here.

I decided on shish kabobs for the recipe exchange because they are a favorite for large get-togethers. I can prepare them a day ahead and then pop them on the grill when guests arrive. They cook up quick and everyone can get theirs cooked to their idea of perfection. And if you’re lucky and everyone is staying at your house, you can form an assembly line to put them together.

Pictured above is one of my go-to skewers, easy marinade and simple to assemble for a small family dinner or a big get-together. It’s equal parts vegetable oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, and toss in some crushed garlic cloves. Mix together and marinate cubed pieces of steak (sirloin works well) for at least an hour or overnight. I remove the steak pieces from the marinade and then toss the veggies with the marinade quickly before alternating meat, vegetables and pineapple chunks on skewers. The ones above really need some cherry tomatoes, too. Grill over high heat, turning frequently until steak is cooked to desired style.

Some other fun food on a stick:

Fajita Chicken and Vegetable Kabobs can be found here.

Grilled Chicken and Papaya Skewers are here.

Lamb Kabobs recipe is here.

And a variety of other Marinades can be found here, to create any number of skewers to grill.

What’s on your plate for the weekend? Grilling anything tasty?

For tonight’s featured recipe, I thought it would be fun to make sure dessert was included in the mix.

Spicy Fruit Kabobs

You can substitute or add any fresh fruit you’d like in this recipe. 

  • 1 cantaloupe or honeydew melon, seeded
  • 2 pears, cored
  • 2 apples, cored
  • 2 bananas, peeled & quartered
  • 8 wooden skewers, soaked in water
  • ½ cup warmed honey
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ¼ cup limejuice
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded & chopped
  • 1 to 2 tsp chili paste

13×9 glass baking dish, blender

Cut fruit into large chunks, alternate fruit on skewers, ending with banana chunks to hold fruit in place. Place in baking dish. Blend together honey, water, lime, jalapeno & chili paste until smooth. Pour over fruit. Let set during dinner (approximately 30 minutes at room temperature. Grill over low coals 5-7 minutes, basting with marinade. Serve immediately.

Banana Split Kabobs

(serves 4)

  • 12 fresh large strawberries, hulled
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 bananas, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 12 fresh pineapple chunks
  • pound cake, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • chocolate syrup
  • shredded, unsweetened coconut

4 long bamboo skewers, 4 dessert plates

Roll strawberries in sugar, coating lightly. Alternate fruit and cake on the skewers. Place on plates and drizzle with chocolate syrup and garnish with coconut. Serve with additional syrup for dipping if desired.

That’s it for this week. Have a safe and fun holiday weekend.  – TaMara

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UPDATED: Dinner Menu: Cajun Catfish and Buttered Potato Pie

Buttered Potatoes2

UPDATED: Added a photo and oh, my, what did I ever do without a mandolin all these years? Took me about 10 minutes to make this recipe from start to finish. Lots of butter and I added crushed roasted garlic and brushed a little olive oil on the top layer. I had forgotten how good these ‘taters are, and with the ease of prep, I’ll make them more often.

Trying out my new mandolin and these pan-fried potatoes were first on my list.  And catfish is always a favorite. I just picked up a new jar of Lucille’s Cajun Spice, so the menu became pretty easy after that. You can substitute any fresh fruit, but I thought pears because I received the Harry and David gift basket. Yum. No citrus drop cookies though, so I guess I’ll have to make more of my own.

And if you really think I’m making broccoli tonight, you haven’t been reading this blog very long. But you should, because, you know, it’s good for you. 😉

I’ll update with photos of the potatoes if I get the chance.

On the board tonight:

  1. Pan-fried Catfish
  2. Broccoli
  3. Buttered Potato Pie
  4. Sliced Pears

Pan-fried Catfish*

  • 4 catfish fillets – approx. 6 oz each
  • olive oil
  • 1 tsp to 1 tbsp Cajun spice (according to your taste preferences)

large skillet

Brush catfish with oil and season with Cajun spice.  Lightly oil pan, using high heat fry 3-4 minutes on each side.

*if you don’t think you’ll like catfish, you can substitute salmon, whitefish, trout, or even boneless chicken breasts (requires longer cooking time).

If you can’t find commercial Cajun spice mixture, you can mix together equal parts of the following  and store in an airtight container:  paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, lemon zest, black pepper, red pepper, allspice, thyme, ground cloves, mace, cayenne, and crushed bay leaf.

Buttered Potato Pie

  • 4-6 medium potatoes
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • ½ onion, sliced in thin ring
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp minced parsley

large skillet

Peel & slice potatoes thinly.  Heat 2 tbsp of butter in skillet.  Arrange onions on the bottom of the skillet, then layer potatoes slices overlapping in a ring on the bottom of the pan.  As you make each layer, drizzle remaining butter over the top and season with salt & pepper.  Invert heat-proof plate, or I use a metal pie pan, over the potatoes, weight down with heavy heat-proof object (like a can of water).  Sauté over medium heat until potatoes are molded and golden brown.  Remove the plate. Transfer the potatoes to the 400 degree oven and cook until caramelized and cooked through, about 30 minutes, pressing the potatoes occasionally to compress and shaking the pan to keep the potatoes from sticking to the bottom. Cut into four wedges and serve with parsley garnish.

Shopping List

  • 4 Pears (or one large can sliced pears)
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 4 catfish fillets
  • 4-6 medium potatoes
  • ½ onion
  • Parsley
  • 1 stick butter

Also: olive oil, Cajun spice, salt, pepper

Full Dinner Menu:Cream of Potato Soup, Orange-Walnut Spinach Salad and Pear and Sour Cherry Crisp

The deep chill set in last week and shows no sign of leaving, so it had to be soup tonight. I just made a big pot of potato soup from leftover mashed potatoes and a few whole potatoes I sliced on my new mandolin to help get me through the big freeze. I thought it should then be the theme for tonight’s menu.

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I’ve been eyeing mandolins for a while and settled on one that would be useful for how seldom I would use it. So far I really liked it. I did invest in a glove to prevent adding my fingertips to any meal prep. So between that and the new camera, I’m hoping to wow you with some pretty plates in the coming weeks.

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But until then, here is tonight’s full menu and shopping list:

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There’s nothing better on a cold night than Creamy Potato Cheese Soup.  I rarely peel potatoes, I scrub the skins thoroughly and that’s good enough for me. It also saves a lot of time and potato skins are full of good things. Yes, there is cheese, but milk instead of cream, and you can even use non-fat milk without noticing any loss. I threw the Pear and Sour Cherry Crisp in at the last minute, because to me, fall is all about fruit crisps.

On the board tonight:

  1. Cream of Potato Cheese Soup
  2. Orange-Walnut Spinach Salad
  3. Pear and Sour Cherry Crisp

Cream of Potato Cheese Soup

  • 6 large potatoes, cubed (peeling opt)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ tsp ea: sage, rosemary, basil
  • 4 cups milk
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salt & pepper to taste

Lg. saucepan (2 to 4 qt)

In saucepan or Dutch oven, cover potatoes with water and boil until fork tender, drain all but 2 cups water. Add onions, garlic and spices to potatoes*. In a bowl mix together  milk, flour, salt & pepper. Mix well, no lumps, add melted butter. Add to potatoes and mix well.  Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly, add cheese, reduce to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

*A great trick is to remove about ½ cup of the cooked potatoes and mash, then add back into soup, this gives you an extra creamy texture.

Orange-Walnut Spinach Salad

  • 10 oz spinach, washed
  • 2 oranges, peeled, remove white skin & cut into chunks (you can substitute equivalent canned mandarin orange slices)
  • ½ red onion, sliced in rings
  • 1 oz bleu cheese, crumbled
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • Raspberry-walnut dressing

large salad bowl

Tear spinach leaves. Layer in a large salad bowl. Top with orange chunks, onion, sprinkle blue cheese and walnuts. Add dressing & toss before serving.

Pears & Sour Cherry Crisp

Topping:

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)

Combine dry ingredients and cut in butter until mixture is crumbly

Filling:

  • 4 large fresh pears, cored, peeled and sliced
  • 1 ½ cups frozen pitted cherries, thawed
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • ¼ cup sugar

8×8 baking dish, greased

Combine pears, cherries, sugar, & cornstarch. Spread in baking dish. Top fruit mixture with flour topping. Bake at 375° for 25 to 34 minutes, topping should be golden & pears tender.

Shopping List:

  • 6 large potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 cups milk
  • 8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
  • 10 oz spinach
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 oz bleu cheese,
  • 4 oz chopped walnuts
  • Raspberry-walnut dressing
  • 1 stick + 3 tbsp butter
  • 4 large fresh pears
  • 12 oz frozen pitted cherries

Also: cornstarch, sugar, brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, cinnamon, sage, rosemary, basil, garlic

Originally posted November 2009

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Friday Recipe Exchange: Raiding the Garden

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JeffreyW raids his garden and comes up with a beautiful dinner

Back from my trip to Nebraska, where unlike Colorado, gardens are full of veggies to harvest. We had lots of fresh corn, peppers, cucumbers, onions and tomatoes with each meal. So I thought tonight we should raid the garden for recipes. If you don’t have a garden or it’s late to produce (I’m looking at you backyard garden), don’t forget your local farmer’s market or farm stand. I really like going to local farm stands, the prices are often more reasonable than a farmer’s market. Two of my local stands have Facebook pages where they list what’s fresh this week and even have coupon specials.

The lovely photo above from JeffreyW is what inspired the theme tonight. Here’s his simple solution for taking advantage of his prolific patio pots: Sautéed Cherry Tomatoes on Pasta (recipe here)

One of my favorite recipes during the summer is Grilled Sweet Peppers and Potatoes (click here).

And finally something a bit different and fun to do with all that zucchini and summer squash: Squash Confetti (recipe here).

And just a reminder, full menus are available on Mondays and this week the menu is all garden fresh (menu is here).

Well I’m off to the evening Art Walk, where my friends will be drumming and where the streets will be filled with local artists’ creations. Tomorrow is the RiverWalk – vendors, musicians, farmer’s market and lots of kids events along the St. Vrain river. What are your plans for the weekend? Planning anything fun on the grill? How is your garden coming along? Hit the comments and don’t forget to share some favorite garden recipes.

On to tonight’s featured recipes, Green Beans w/ Yellow Pepper Butter,  Spinach-Raspberry Salad and Spicy Fruit Kabobs:

Green Beans w/ Yellow Pepper Butter

Last time I was at the farm stand, they had four different kinds of green beans and I used a mixture of all of them in this recipe.

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ yellow sweet pepper, seeded & shredded
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 oz chopped cashews
  • 16 oz fresh green beans, trimmed & cut
  • ½ yellow pepper, seeded, cut into thin strips
  • salt & pepper to taste

saucepan, steamer

Melt butter in saucepan, add shredded pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Add lemon juice & cashews, stir for 1 minute, remove & set aside. Add steamer to saucepan, add beans & just enough water to reach bottom of the steamer. Steam beans for 5 minutes, add strips of pepper and cook until beans are tender-crisp, additional 5-7 minutes. Remove steamer and drain water from saucepan. Add all ingredients into saucepan and heat 1 minute, tossing to coat with butter mixture. Serve immediately.

Spinach-Raspberry Salad

The easiest way to wash fresh from the garden spinach (and leaf lettuce) is to fill a sink with water and soak the spinach (swish it a couple of times). Pull it out and place it in a strainer, drain the sink and repeat. With the two soaks, all the dirt should sink to the bottom. Run through a salad spinner and you should have dirt free spinach.

  • 8 oz fresh spinach leaves
  • ½ pint fresh raspberries
  • 4 oz chopped pecans
  • Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing
  • 2 oz mild bleu cheese, crumbled

Serving bowl

Wash and thoroughly dry spinach & raspberries, add to serving bowl with pecans, toss with dressing and add crumbled bleu cheese.

Spicy Fruit Kabobs

You can substitute or add any fresh fruit you’d like in this recipe. 

  • 1 cantaloupe or honeydew melon, seeded
  • 2 pears, cored
  • 2 apples, cored
  • 2 bananas, peeled & quartered
  • 8 wooden skewers, soaked in water
  • ½ cup warmed honey
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ¼ cup limejuice
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded & chopped
  • 1 to 2 tsp chili paste

13×9 glass baking dish, blender

Cut fruit into large chunks, alternate fruit on skewers, ending with banana chunks to hold fruit in place. Place in baking dish. Blend together honey, water, lime, jalapeno & chili paste until smooth. Pour over fruit. Let set during dinner (approximately 30 minutes at room temperature. Grill over low coals 5-7 minutes, basting with marinade. Serve immediately.

See you next week.

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Memorial Day Grilling Menu

Here’s a grilling menu that is a nice change from BBQ, burgers and steak (not that there is anything wrong with any of that!).  The grilled pears are a real treat, especially with the melted butter baste.  If the weather cooperates, why cook inside when you can cook your entire meal outside?

  1. Honey Glazed Chicken
  2. Grilled Vegetable Wraps
  3. Grilled Pears

Honey Glazed Chicken

  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • ¼ tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1/8 tsp salt & pepper
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Mix together honey, zest, mustard, garlic, salt & pepper. Brush chicken breasts with oil and grill over medium-high heat. After 10 minutes, turn breasts over. After 5 additional minutes begin to brush with sauce. Turn and brush every 5 minutes until breasts are cooked through (approximately 20-30 minutes total cooking time).

Grilled Vegetable Wraps

  • 1 red sweet pepper
  • 1 yellow sweet pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 summer squash, cut lengthwise (¼” thick)
  • 1 small onion, cut into thin rings
  • 1 tomato, cut into thin wedges
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup Ranch Dressing
  • 4 tomato or spinach flavored flour tortillas
  • 2 oz shredded pepper jack cheese
  • ½ cup snipped cilantro

grilling basket or foil

Seed & slice peppers into thin strips. Toss peppers, squash, onions & tomato with oil. Grill in grilling basket or in foil packet until vegetables are tender-crisp, about 8 minutes. Spread ranch dressing on each tortilla, sprinkle with cheese & cilantro, place ¼ of vegetables in each tortilla and wrap up. If you like you can then toast rolled up tortillas on the grill until cheese melts.

Grilled pears

4 pears, cut into 4 wedges each and place on skewers & grill for 5 minutes, brushing lightly with butter during grilling.

Thursday Night Menu: Snow Storm Edition

I hope all of you survived the monster winter storm that hit the east coast. As I write this, we are predicted to get about 12 inches of snow today. It’s coming down pretty heavily right now and I’m not looking forward to my drive home. I will set this up to post automatically, just in case. See how much I love you? (Edit: Home safe and sound, roads are ugly)

Keeping it simple tonight. If your house is like mine, you’re still suffering holiday goodie hangovers, so no dessert tonight, just fresh fruit. Lots of fresh vegetables in this one, too. Trying to help you get ready for those New Year’s resolutions.

On the board tonight:

  1. Sausage Pasta
  2. Italian Green Bean Salad
  3. Bread Sticks
  4. Sliced Pears

Sausage Pasta

  • 1 lb Italian sausage, sweet or spicy*
  • 2 zucchini, cubed
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 mushrooms, washed & sliced
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp basil, crushed
  • 1 tsp oregano, crushed
  • 2 tsp fennel (opt)
  • 10 oz ditalini or penne pasta

deep skillet and large saucepan

Brown sausage in skillet, and crumble well, add zucchini, onions & mushrooms, cook until tender. Add tomatoes & spices. In honor of my new friend fennel, toss 2 tsp in if you like.  Let simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain well & toss with sausage mixture.

* you can substitute ½ lean ground beef or ground turkey for ½ lb of the sausage to lighten up this meal.

Italian Green Bean Salad

  • 1 lb fresh green beans
  • Romaine lettuce leaves
  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, sliced in rings
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan
  • 4 oz can black olives, whole

saucepan and serving bowl

Prepare beans by snapping off ends, washing and cutting in half if large. Add  water & pinch of salt to saucepan, add beans and cook for 5 minutes at boiling. Reduce heat and cook until beans are tender-crisp about 5-10 minutes. Drain well. Prepare Vinaigrette Dressing (left), pour over warm beans & toss. Place in freezer to cool completely (about 5 min).  Remove, toss with parmesan, add tomatoes, onions & olives. Serve on lettuce leaves.  You can also serve warm over lettuce if you prefer.

Vinaigrette Dressing

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp basil, crushed
  • ½ tsp oregano, crushed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients and blend well

Menu serves 4

Shopping List:

  • Bread Sticks
  • 4 pears
  • 1 lb Italian sausage, sweet or spicy*
  • 2 zucchini
  • 4 green onions
  • 2 mushrooms
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 10 oz ditalini or penne pasta
  • 1 lb fresh green beans
  • Romaine lettuce leaves
  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • 1 small onion
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan
  • 4 oz can black olives, whole
  • fennel seed (opt)

Also: crushed garlic, basil, oregano, olive oil, red wine vinegar

Winter Compote

This may be the fruit dish I go with as a dessert item.  It has pretty holiday colors when finished and a tart flavor as a perfect complement to a good quality vanilla ice cream.  If you want to make it an adult affair, toss in some brandy along with the cider, or use hard cider.

Winter Compote

  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 12 oz fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup apple cider
  • 1-inch slice lemon peel
  • 4 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and sliced
  • 4 pears, sliced, seeded and peeled
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream

saucepan and 2 qt covered baking dish, lightly oiled

In saucepan, heat applesauce, cranberries, cider, lemon peel. Bring to a low simmer, stirring occasionally, let simmer while preparing remaining fruit. Add apples and pears to baking dish, pour sauce over fruit and bake covered at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, uncover and cook additional 10 minutes, until fruit is tender. Remove lemon peel and serve with ice cream.

 

Thursday Night Menu: Creamy Potato Cheese Soup

This is actually one of the highest searched recipes on the blog, so for tonight’s Thursday Night Menu, I’m going to repeat it.  I’m (unfortunately for my blogging escapades) swamped with work and meetings today and didn’t think ahead in time to get a new menu prepped.

Good news is, I have two meatloaf recipes to post as soon as I have a chance to type them up.  Until then…

From November 5, 2009

It’s warm here today, but it’s always good to have a soup recipe on hand for when the cold weather returns. And there’s nothing better on a cold night than Creamy Potato Cheese Soup.  I rarely peel potatoes, I scrub the skins thoroughly and that’s good enough for me. It also saves a lot of time and potato skins are full of good things. Yes, there is cheese, but milk instead of cream, and you can even use non-fat milk without noticing any loss. I threw the Pear and Sour Cherry Crisp in at the last minute, because to me, fall is all about fruit crisps.

On the board tonight:

  1. Cream of Potato Cheese Soup
  2. Orange-Walnut Spinach Salad
  3. Pear and Sour Cherry Crisp

Cream of Potato Cheese Soup

  • 6 large potatoes, cubed (peeling opt)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ tsp ea: sage, rosemary, basil
  • 4 cups milk
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salt & pepper to taste

Lg. saucepan (2 to 4 qt)

In saucepan or Dutch oven, cover potatoes with water and boil until fork tender, drain all but 2 cups water. Add onions, garlic and spices to potatoes*. In a bowl mix together  milk, flour, salt & pepper. Mix well, no lumps, add melted butter. Add to potatoes and mix well.  Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly, add cheese, reduce to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

*A great trick is to remove about ½ cup of the cooked potatoes and mash, then add back into soup, this gives you an extra creamy texture.

Orange-Walnut Spinach Salad

  • 10 oz spinach, washed
  • 2 oranges, peeled, remove white skin & cut into chunks (you can substitute equivalent canned mandarin orange slices)
  • ½ red onion, sliced in rings
  • 1 oz bleu cheese, crumbled
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • Raspberry-walnut dressing

large salad bowl

Tear spinach leaves. Layer in a large salad bowl. Top with orange chunks, onion, sprinkle blue cheese and walnuts. Add dressing & toss before serving.

Pears & Sour Cherry Crisp

Topping:

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)

Combine dry ingredients and cut in butter until mixture is crumbly

Filling:

  • 4 large fresh pears, cored, peeled and sliced
  • 1 ½ cups frozen pitted cherries, thawed
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • ¼ cup sugar

8×8 baking dish, greased

Combine pears, cherries, sugar, & cornstarch. Spread in baking dish. Top fruit mixture with flour topping. Bake at 375° for 25 to 34 minutes, topping should be golden & pears tender.

Shopping List:

  • 6 large potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 cups milk
  • 8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
  • 10 oz spinach
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 oz bleu cheese,
  • 4 oz chopped walnuts
  • Raspberry-walnut dressing
  • 1 stick + 3 tbsp butter
  • 4 large fresh pears
  • 12 oz frozen pitted cherries

Also: cornstarch, sugar, brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, cinnamon, sage, rosemary, basil, garlic